Clinton Portis and former NFL players plead guilty to defrauding insurance plan

Former Washington and Denver star Clinton Portis and two other former NFL pros have pleaded guilty to their roles in a broad-based effor...


Former Washington and Denver star Clinton Portis and two other former NFL pros have pleaded guilty to their roles in a broad-based effort to defraud a health care benefits program for retired players, announced Tuesday the Ministry of Justice. Portis and Tamarick Vanover pleaded guilty on Friday, while Robert McCune, one of the leaders of the scheme, pleaded guilty on August 24.

A total of 15 people have pleaded guilty to participating in a plan to defraud the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan, which reimburses former players for medical costs up to 350,000. $.

The NFL declined to comment. The NFL Players Association did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to court documents, Portis submitted fraudulent claims for nearly $ 100,000 of medical equipment that was never delivered. Vanover recruited three other former NFL players and helped them file false claims totaling nearly $ 160,000.

McCune, the Justice Department said, orchestrated the fraud, which included the submission of around $ 2.9 million in false claims, for which the plan paid around $ 2.5 million between June 2017 and April 2018.

Cigna, the insurance company that administers the plan, has detected claims for expensive medical equipment that have set off alarms. According to the Portis plea agreement, a January 2018 claim included Portis and McCune seeking reimbursement of $ 44,732 for a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. In another, as of March 2018, they requested a refund of $ 54,532 for a cryotherapy sauna. Portis, according to the plea agreement, was “aware of a high probability that the claims McCune submitted on his behalf were false and fraudulent and deliberately ignored this fact.”

Portis and Vanover pleaded guilty two days after jurors in their case failed to reach a verdict, and the trial was overturned on some of the charges against Vanover. A new trial was due to open this week.

Both former players will be sentenced in January and each face up to 10 years in prison, but will most likely receive much less, based on sentencing guidelines.

Jeffrey Darling, a lawyer who represents Vanover, said in an interview that his client decided to plead guilty despite the jury suspended in the first trial because jurors voted 11 to 1 to convict. In a second try, “maybe we couldn’t have done it again,” Darling said.

Darling said Vanover admitted in a settlement that he provided the personal information of three former NFL players to Reche Caldwell, another former player who worked with McCune to file bogus claims. However, “the government was unable to produce any evidence at trial that Mr. Vanover personally facilitated the filing of the claims or that he himself received the money,” Darling said in a written statement.

Portis’ lawyer declined to comment.

McCune pleaded guilty at the start of the trial to all counts he faced, including several counts of healthcare fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. He will be sentenced on November 19 and could face what amounts to a life sentence, if all the charges against him are included.

Five other former NFL players were indicted, including former New Orleans Saints catcher Joe Horn. His son Jaycee, a cornerback, was drafted in the first round in April by the Carolina Panthers.

Horn and 11 other defendants in the case have pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit health care fraud. One of them, Caldwell, died in June 2020.

Portis, 40, was by far the best known of the players. Drafted in the second round in 2002 by the Denver Broncos, he was voted offensive rookie of the year. He played 113 games in Denver and Washington and retired in 2010.

McCune, 42, was drafted in 2005 and played eight games as a linebacker for the Washington and the Baltimore Ravens.

Vanover, 47, was drafted in 1995 by Kansas City. He played 77 catcher games for Kansas City and the Chargers.

All the men were originally invoiced in December 2019.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Clinton Portis and former NFL players plead guilty to defrauding insurance plan
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